Round-up: QPR deals in trouble, Fulham signing close, Chelsea youngsters triumph

first_imgFulham look likely to beat QPR to the signing of United States international Tim Ream.The defender held talks with Rangers after they had a £1.4m bid accepted by Bolton but Ream appears to have decided to join Fulham, who have also had an offer accepted.Rangers’ attempts to sign highly-rated goalkeeper Daniel Bentley from Southend have also stalled, so they have made an approach to Huddersfield for Alex Smithies.And there continues to be speculation that first-choice keeper Rob Green could leave Loftus Road. No approaches have been received for the 35-year-old.Chris Ramsey has problems at the opposite end of the pitch – he blamed QPR’s failure to take several chances after the disappointing outcome against Cardiff, who came back from two down to draw 2-2.QPR boss Ramsey rues his team’s missed chances against CardiffHead coach Ramsey also said he substituted Charlie Austin and Tjaronn Chery for the second game running because both were showing signs of fatigue.R’s chairman Tony Fernandes told fans on Twitter after the match that the result was still a decent one and that the team is “a work in progress.”Fulham, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 by Brighton at Craven Cottage, where the visitors scored with an injury-time penalty.Whites boss Kit Symons pointed the finger of blame at defender Shaun Hutchinson, who gave away the spot-kick.Brentford came from behind to win 4-2 at Bristol City – but they have problems.This week they were hit with the news that summer signing Andreas Bjelland will miss the rest of the season – and now boss Marinus Dijkhuizen says playmaker Jota will be sidelined for three or four months.Jota is expected to be out of action for some timeDijkhuizen is, however, hopeful that the club will be able to keep Andre Gray this season despite Hull’s attempts to sign the striker.Chelsea face title rivals Manchester City on Sunday and Blues boss Jose Mourinho has insisted they have not been affected in any way by the furore over his fall-out with two of his medical staff.Man City v Chelsea: five key battlesChelsea’s Under-18s were in action earlier today, maintaining their winning start to the season with a 1-0 victory against Aston Villa.Follow West London Sport on Twitter Find us on Facebooklast_img read more

Admit It: Mars Is Lifeless

first_imgHow much longer does the public have to be told that Mars “might” have life or space aliens “could” be found soon?A writer for New Scientist is concerned about the cost of protecting Mars from contamination. But the argument bears on the probability of life existing on the red planet.WHEN can we declare the Red Planet a dead planet? Although most efforts so far have gone toward showing that other planets could support life, now is the time to think about the other side of the coin.Spacecraft going to other worlds must follow costly planetary protection protocols, such as sterilisation, to avoid contaminating their destination with Earth microbes, putting any native life at risk, or bringing potentially dangerous alien ones back.But if there’s nothing there, why bother? We haven’t found life on Mars yet, and if further missions also turn up nothing, at some point commercial space enterprises such as mining operations or tourism will want to avoid the costs of sterilisation.“It’s time to decide when to declare a planet lifeless,” the headline reads.A more obvious tease is in this article on PhysOrg: “We could find aliens any day now—SETI scientists discuss extraterrestrial life hunting.” Despite 50 years of coming up empty, leading SETI researchers get great press, and only softball questions from the interviewer. One says it is a “multi-generational” search. That may be, but so was alchemy. It also gives the three SETI advocates job security with little chance of falsification.We’ve stated many times that astrobiology is a fantasy of the imagination, not science. The operative word is “could” – Mars “could support life” is the thinking (see perhapsimaybecouldness index in the Darwin Dictionary). Without data, though, it’s no better than saying unicorns “could” exist in the deep dark forest. New Scientist still believes in the possibility, but they are right in pointing out that there has to be an expiration date on the “could”-ness. They are concerned about cost; we are concerned about scientific integrity. Teasing the public with things that “could” be true is leading them on the primrose path. Show us the evidence. (Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

More Plants That Didn’t Evolve

first_imgWe continue with looks at how plants supposedly evolved, drawing from latest news from the leading journals and science media outlets.More Plants That Didn’t EvolveDinosaur plant found: “Imagine you’re at work and suddenly, a cheetah pokes its head through your window.” That’s a strange way for an article on Science Daily to begin. Cheetahs used to live in the western hemisphere, but we don’t expect to see them here now. “That’s about what Richard McCourt, PhD, and his colleagues dealt with when they came across Lychnothamnus barbatus, a large green alga that was thought to have died in the Western Hemisphere long before the cheetahs here died out.” Has it evolved in all that time? No mention of that in the article. In fact, McCourt thinks the plant could have been living here unchanged all this time, but had not been recognized.Ugly stepsister or beautiful dodder? Maybe you’ve seen unsightly strands of orange fibers wrapped around chaparral plants. Cuscuta, or dodder, has many names indicative of its bad reputation:  “strangle tare, scaldweed, beggarweed, … fireweed, wizard’s net, devil’s guts, devil’s hair, devil’s ringlet, … hailweed, hairweed, hellbine, … pull-down, strangleweed, … and witch’s hair” (Wikipedia). Maybe this parasitic plant should get more respect. A paper in PNAS suggests that those threads provide a kind of information channel to send warning signals to their hosts. Notice that “conserved” means unevolved:Here we show that herbivore attack on one of the Cuscuta bridge-connected plants induces gene expression and increases the activity of trypsin proteinase inhibitors, and thus elevates the resistance to insects in other undamaged but Cuscuta-connected plants. This Cuscuta-mediated interplant signaling is rapid, conserved, far-reaching, and partly requires the plant hormone jasmonic acid. Although Cuscuta parasites can negatively influence their host plants, under certain circumstances, they may also provide ecologically relevant information-based benefits.Fern innovation or extinction? A paper in Phys.org seems poised to show evidence for evolution in ferns. But does it deliver? “Fern fossil data clarifies origination and extinction of species” is the title. We learn about extinction, but origination gets a little complicated.The observed variation in the fern diversity was compared with the variation in other groups of plants and in the environment, such as continental drift and climate change. The results show that changes in the environment strongly influence extinctions but surprisingly not the origination of new diversity. Instead, the formation of new fern species is accelerated when the fern diversity is low (e.g. after mass extinctions). The study suggests that origination of new species is mainly a neutral process in which the probability of speciation increases when diversity is low.Got that? Looks like all the ferns are still ferns, just varying in a neutral way. Unless Darwinism confers upon ferns some novel, innovative new structure or function, this kind of change is something any young-earth creationist would yawn at.The leaves of Jurassic Park: Swedish evolutionists are looking at fossil leaves to try to determine evolutionary relationships, reports Science Daily. The article makes an important admission about DNA survivability for those finding it in fossils much older: “The oldest DNA fragments ever found are scarcely one million-years-old.” Still the evolutionists feel they can infer DNA characteristics indirectly by looking for organic molecules in the leaves. Wait a minute; those leaves are supposed to be 200 million years old! How can any organic molecules remain?“The results from the fossil leaves far exceeded our expectations, not only were they full of organic molecules, they also grouped according to well-established botanical relationships, based on DNA analysis of living plants i.e. Ginkgoes in one group, conifers in another,” says Vivi Vajda.That presents two problems for evolutionists: (1) How did organic molecules survive in fossils for 200 million years, and (2) Where is the evolution if the molecules sort themselves the same way they are sorted in living plants? What has evolved?Leaf database; where is the evolution? Nature tells about a massive database of 182,000 leaves being used to interpret family relationships of plants. But readers will look in vain for the keywords evolution, phylogeny, or selection. Degrees of relatedness are not controversial—even to creationists—as is evident from the work of Linnaeus and John Ray. The huge database of leaves seems profoundly uninformative about the concepts that drove Darwin: survival of the fittest and progress by competition. Who is surprised that leaves come in different shapes? This is about morphology, not phylogeny.Evolutionary burn-out: The Geological Society of America is looking for charred flowers and charcoal in the fossil record of plants, Science Daily says. We learn in this article that wildfires can make charcoal, but they can also destroy it. This leads to a cautionary message, not to evidence for evolution: “paleontologists must now consider that the charcoal fossil record of flowers is unlikely to preserve all types of flower equally, and as a result, they may be missing information about the early evolutionary history of angiosperms.” But why should any carbonized material remain after over a hundred million years?How to Cheat the ReadersAn open-access paper in Current Biology promises insight into “The Evolution of Calcium-Based Signalling in Plants.” Aha! We have found just what we were looking for. We’re going to learn how a complex system evolved! Alas, the reader finds at the end, that the only mentions of “innovation” are locked in futureware. Under the final section, “Unanswered Questions and Opportunities,” the reader gets the message that evolutionary insight (if there is any) is on back order:In particular, an increase in the number of genome sequences will provide the increase in the granularity required to investigate whether there is a correlation between, for example, the increased diversity in the Ca2+ signature-decoding proteins and the appearance of key innovations in plant morphology and physiology. Likewise, increased granularity will permit the overlaying of paleoclimate data on the timeline describing the evolution of the Ca2+-signalling toolkit and the evolution of plant morphology. Mapping major losses to, or expansions of, the plant Ca2+-signalling toolkit onto a timeline of plant innovations and significant changes to climate and environment might reveal the identity of the key selective pressures that shaped the evolution of Ca2+ signalling in plants. Ideally, such approaches should be paralleled by experimental determination of quantitative Ca2+-binding characteristics and enzymatic kinetics of the Ca2+-signalling components to aid understanding of their functional differentiation and diversification during evolution.That calcium signaling exists in plants is not controversial. But where is the answer to “the evolution of calcium-based signaling?” ‘Tain’t here, folks. Just the usual tricks: convergent evolution, microevolution, and heavy doses of the power of suggestion, like, “the selection pressures likely to operate on the evolution of intracellular signalling in plants,” or, “one of the major selective pressures would have been the transition from the saline to the freshwater environment.” The ending sentence before “Unanswered Questions” wins the prize for suggestion: “Likewise, it is tempting to assume that the abundance of different signal decoders (CDPKs, CBL–CIPKs, CMLs) that we see in extant plants is reflective of an increase in the ability to colonise a diverse array of environmental niches that have occurred over evolutionary time,” the authors say. “In this scenario, the ability to respond appropriately to an increasing range of environmental stimuli would be of selective advantage to evolving plants.” Pure storytelling based on imagination is not evidence.A Better Way to Do Plant ScienceMedicine man: John de la Perra is an ethnobotanist – someone who searches ethnic communities to see how they use plants. “Ethnobotany is the scientific study of traditional plant knowledge. It’s what gave us morphine, aspirin, and ephedrine, to name a few. And there is still untapped potential,” Phys.org says without a word about evolution. How did a blind, evolutionary process give plants the ability to synthesize thousands of complex compounds, many of which contribute to the healing of human diseases? In the Darwinian account, humans were not even around when plants first appeared. John doesn’t seem to need evolutionary theory in his work; evolution is not mentioned anywhere in the article. He just wants to help people use plants for healing.Dear readers: we give you links to the very best evolutionary evidence from the leading journals and academic institutions. You can read what they say and see if it sounds convincing. But when you strip away the fogma, the Darwin Flubber and perhapsimaybecouldness spikes; when you are not intimated by Jargonwocky; when you disallow incestuous Darwin assumptions; when you examine their methods; when you just look at the raw data and see what it indicates, what do you find? Creation! All the Darwinese reduces to hot air and storytelling. Evolution is a narrative gloss painted on the facts, not an inference from the facts themselves. Darwin paint turns beautiful flowers into black, hideous products of the Stuff Happens Law. People need to see the how the Darwin Party subverts science into Darwinolatry.See yesterday’s post for more examples. (Visited 330 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Stunning pictures from on high

first_imgWe have seen many stunning pictures taken from aircraft over the year but these are amongst the best of the best.Taken by Christiaan (JPC) van Heijst a pilot with a major freight airline they are truly spectacular.Christiaan founded www.Amazing-Aviation.com in 2013 with colleague Daan Krans and the two world-renowned photographers bring a new dimension to portraying aviation with striking imagery, unrivaled in quality, accuracy and almost always with a flair for the artistic.In this photo essay, we feature the work of Christiaan who has worked for 12 years as an airline pilot and professional photographer. He starting his flying career on the Fokker 50 Turboprop, flying under contract in Africa and Afghanistan for almost two and a half years.Then he moved on to Transavia.com where he flew the Boeing 737NG for almost five years before making his most rewarding step in early 2011 to Europe’s leading All-Cargo-Airline; Cargolux International Airlines.Flying the true Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747-400 and the latest 747-8 Freighter as a Senior First Officer on a long haul global network Christiaan always has his camera within reach, ready to capture the magic above the clouds and the world from a unique pilot’s perspective.The captions below each photo are remarks by Christiaan.To order these photos and to see the entire magnificent collection click here;last_img read more

Going green for 2010

first_imgEnvironmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi exchanging thoughts with LOC CEO Danny Jordaan at the Green Goal 2010 Programme launch. (Image: Bongani Nkosi)The recently launched Green Goal 2010 Programme is helping South Africa ensure that next year’s Fifa World Cup is an environment-friendly event.The programme was spearheaded by the country’s Department of Environmental Affairs and the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) and made public on 26 November at Safa House, the LOC’s headquarters, in Johannesburg.At the launch representatives from the nine host cities, the LOC and the department signed a pledge to support Green Goal’s objectives of minimising waste, reducing harmful fuel emissions, promoting energy efficiency and conserving water.Government, especially at a local level, has committed to boost its services and community involvement to see these objectives realised.Waste and water managementTo manage waste effectively the LOC and host cities will use biodegradable packaging for takeaway food and drinks, and provide different bins to separate recyclable and non-recyclable litter at the fan parks and stadiums.Measures will also be taken to ensure there is responsible water consumption during the tournament, so South Africans won’t be affected in the future, said Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ deputy minister.At the stadiums all urinals will be water-free, operating instead with hygienic, replaceable cartridges connected to drainpipes. Rain or run-off water will be used during cleaning.Government has promised to collect waste efficiently and regularly and ensure that potable water and electricity supply is uninterrupted at stadiums and public viewing areas.“The World Cup can … create awareness about the environment, leading to changed behavioural patterns and reduced consumption of resources such as water, electricity and fuel – as well as biodiversity protection,” Mabudafhasi said.South Africa’s Green Goal partners include Fifa, Eskom, the Central Energy Fund, local businesses and countries such as Norway, UK, Denmark and Germany.“These stakeholders are committed to a national drive to ensure the event does not leave a legacy of negative environmental impact,” Mabudafhasi added.More trees for SAEfforts are already underway to plant more trees across the country for 2010.The City of Johannesburg, which will host big 2010 games like the opening and final match at Soccer City, has undertaken to plant 200 000 trees for the tournament.“We have planted 187 000 trees, on top of the 10-million trees the city already has,” said Jenny Moodley, spokesperson of City Parks which manages Johannesburg’s cemeteries, open green areas, street trees and conserved spaces.“We have been planting trees all over,” said Mabudafhasi.Cutting down on fuel emissionsThe biggest concern about the much-anticipated World Cup is that it will increase South Africa’s carbon footprint dramatically.Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told Parliament on 25 November that a feasibility study has shown the event will generate about 2.8-million tons of carbon emissions, almost 10 times the amount produced during the German World Cup in 2006.International air travel will account for 67% of the carbon footprint, according to the study which was commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Norwegian government.The department noted that Germany did not include air travel in its carbon footprint in 2006, and this addition for 2010 will significantly add to South Africa’s volumes.Most international visitors will have to fly to the country for the World Cup, unlike many in Germany who were able to drive in and out, LOC CEO Danny Jordaan said.“What’s different is that Germany is the centre of Europe … fans from the Netherlands and France simply drove to stadiums and returned home the same day,” he said.“We have identified a number of projects to offset our carbon footprint,” said Mabudafhasi.Sonjica recently announced that spectators will be encouraged to use bicycles to reduce fuel emissions during the tournament. She said at least three of the nine host cities will soon introduce bicycle lanes along routes leading to stadiums and other spectator sites.“The department will fund bicycle maintenance in these three host cities,” the minister said.Government is also hoping the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by getting more people to use public transport instead of congesting routes with private cars.Rea Vaya buses, part of Johannesburg’s BRT system, are already operational along many routes in the city and carry about 16 3000 passengers daily.There are also plans to implement the system in the host cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.As was done during the Fifa Confederations Cup in June, other modes of public transport such as taxis and trains will be promoted in 2010 to minimise the use of cars.A great, green spectacle“We envisage that the 2010 Fifa World Cup will be a great football event and, most importantly, it will be hosted under excellent environmental stewardship,” said Mabudafhasi.“[The World Cup] will be used to raise awareness of both local and global environmental issues … and will be used to lay a foundation and set new and higher standards for greening future events in South Africa,” she added.last_img read more

South Africa kicks off 2011 election drive

first_imgSouth Africa is headed for local elections. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) The IEC has launched its voter registration campaign. (Image: M&G) MEDIA CONTACTS • Kate Bapela Spokesperson, IEC +27 12 622 5579 or +27 82 600 6386  RELATED ARTICLES • Millions vote in record SA election • South Africans go to the polls • Hopes of a peaceful Sudan poll • Zuma: a more prosperous nationBongani NkosiSouth Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has launched an ambitious drive to swell voter turnout at the 2011 local government elections – a poll that has, in the past, been under-supported, especially among young people.The government is yet to announce the exact date for citizens to vote in their new municipality council leaders, but it’s expected to be in either May or June. The current term for incumbent councillors ends on 2 March, and the next elections should be held within 90 days of that.The commission wants to register no less than 1.5-million new voters to ensure these are as well attended as national elections. More than 21-million voters registered for the 2006 local government elections.About 23-million voters are currently on the IEC’s roll, following registrations for the 2009 national elections.Registration for the 2011 poll will take place on 5 and 6 February in more than 20 000 voting stations across the country. The IEC said 60 000 officials have already been trained to handle the registrations, while about 196 000 officials will be deployed on the actual day of elections.The commission’s preparations got under way in September after it received clarity on the voting districts, also known as wards, from the Municipal Demarcation Board. A number of new wards were created as a result of demarcations.“As an election management body, we are always mindful of the huge responsibility that rests upon us,” said the IEC’s chief electoral officer Advocate Pansy Tlakula. “We have to implement election management processes that will produce an outcome that will be accepted by all contesting political parties and candidates.“We know that we can only do so if we are meticulous in our preparations for each election.”The IEC has an excess budget of about R1-billion (US$147-million) for the 2010/11 financial year, which should enable it to acquire sufficient equipment to ensure a smooth voting process.South Africans who are already on the voters’ roll, or those who registered for the previous elections, need not register again if they are going to vote at the same station. If they are not sure, they can ask the IEC to check if their details are still in order.New voters will include youngsters who were not yet 18 at the time of the 2009 national elections. “We encourage the youth to take a keen interest in the affairs of their local municipalities,” said Lusani Mulaudzi, chairperson of the ACDP Youth Foundation.‘Love your South Africa’The IEC’s registration campaign has a strong focus on young voters, as their support in municipal elections is usually low. The drive was launched at a glittering event in Midrand, outside Johannesburg, on 12 January.The campaign is called ‘Love your South Africa’. The commission said it hopes to inspire South Africans to vote in the elections out of a love for their country.All eligible South Africans have been called upon to register and take part in the upcoming elections. “The love for South Africa must stir each one of us to participate in these elections,” Tlakula said.Political parties will soon launch their campaigns to woo voters, and earnest preparations and canvassing will start thereafter.The parties have opportunities to increase representation in eight metropolitan councils, 44 district councils and 226 local councils.There are currently six metropolitan councils in the country, but this will increase to eight on the day of elections when Mangaung in the Free State and Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape join the ranks.The metros are nodes of economic growth and have more industries compared to their district council counterparts. They include the City of Johannesburg, City of Cape Town and eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal.Election results are expected to attract much interest, especially in the Western Cape where the African National Congress will be hoping to make a mark in the province it lost to the Democratic Alliance in 2009.last_img read more

Geocaching is (literally) a Piece of Cake (sometimes)

first_img SharePrint RelatedGuide to hosting an unforgettable Last/First New Year’s eventNovember 27, 2018In “Community”How to host the best New Year’s event for Last/FirstNovember 28, 2017In “Community”6 souvenirs. 5 Geocaching HQ’ers. 300 miles. 24 hours.August 3, 2015In “Community” Geocaching birthday cakeLarra-Three’s geo-cakeShare with your Friends:More Susan CurrenceHere’s a question you don’t often hear, “Did you find that geocache on the cake?” Well… look at the masterful geocaching cake by Susan Currence to your left. Can you find the geocache?Could the geocache be hidden in the pretzel stick palm trees? Might it be in the frosting river? Keep reading to find out.Susan and others uploaded pictures of geocaching themed cakes after a Geocaching.com Facebook post. The post read, “Geocaching is about community. Community is about events. And when you have an event: You. Bring. A. Themed. Cake. Share your best geocaching cake recipes and pics here…”Almost any given week you can check out the Geocaching Event Calendar and find more than fifty events in a dozen countries around the world. Odds are you’ll find a cake at most of those events. Here’s some of the best of the best.cooper troopers’ geo-cakeUK geocacher cooper troopers spent eight hours crafting a geocaching themed cake. She writes you can feast on nearly everything you see on the cake to your left, but – “The only thing that you couldn’t eat were the film pot and the fern, everything else was edible. The cake was a chocolate sponge with chocolate butter-cream icing. Some of the items came from the local old fashioned sweet shop, sugar pebbles/stones and chocolate shavings (for dirt) and chocolate nibs (twigs).”Geocaching cakes aren’t just for events. Some geocachers use them as prizes. Emma Harding (emma.27) writes, “My friend hid 20 something caches and made it a race to find all of the caches, my cake being the prize.  The event itself was speed caking.  Based on speed dating, cachers brought cake and swapped for more cake.  Everyone had a fab time and got good feedback.” You can see the cache page from the event here.Geo-Cake Spoiler picCheck out some of the cakes below for ideas for your next geocaching event. So… back to the first question in this blog post; did you find the geocache in the cake above yet?  (Here’s the spoiler picture.)Emma.27’s geo-cakelast_img read more

Perspectives on privacy – foundation

first_imgDisco ball – used under Creative Commons license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] about privacy breaches, companies gathering data without informing users, and companies changing privacy policies seem to be a daily occurrence. While future blog posts will look at what you, as a user of online tools, can do to protect your privacy, I wanted to step back and examine what we mean by privacy. It’s important to know what privacy means and how we perceive the privacy of certain information to understand how we want to handle such information.To help get at the ideas behind privacy, let’s use a fictitious example:JoeJoe is a mid-career civil engineer and construction manager at a large firm. He earned his degree from a Big 10 university and was active in intramural athletics and his fraternity. He is married to Cathy and has three children.Joe loves the song “Dancing Queen” by the Swedish band Abba, but worries about what others would think of him if they knew. While he’ll sing the song when he’s alone in the car, he hasn’t shared his feeling with anyone else.Joe’s love of “Dancing Queen” is private. As long as he doesn’t share that information, it will remain private.Let’s look at some ways Joe might share that information, along with some possible ramifications.Joe tells CathySuppose Joe tells his wife Cathy that he loves the song. Joe trusts and loves Cathy, and her knowing about “Dancing Queen” doesn’t change the way she feels for or behaves towards him. Therefore, there’s no direct harm from Cathy knowing his private information. Indeed, he could benefit, because now she may let him know when it’s playing on the radio, buy him an Abba album for his birthday, etc.Cathy tells a friendAt a party, Cathy hears “Dancing Queen” playing and tells her best friend, Nell, who’s married to one of Joe’s co-workers, that it’s Joe’s favorite song, but not to tell anyone. If Nell doesn’t tell anyone else, then there is still no harm to Joe. However, suppose Nell mentions to her husband that Joe loves “Dancing Queen” and the next day, as a joke, he blasts the song on the loud speaker at the construction site. Joe may feel harmed, because the information he considered private and embarrassing is now known by his co-workers and is being used to poke fun at him.Joe uses the InternetJoe wants the lyrics to “Dancing Queen” so he goes to the Google website and searches for “Abba Dancing Queen lyrics.” He finds the lyrics, and also looks at some other sites related to Abba. He does a couple more searches for Abba information, and ends up buying an Abba compilation album from Amazon.com and downloads an MP3 of “Dancing Queen” from iTunes. Then he uses the online service Spotify, to listen to a bunch of Abba’s music.Here we have moved away from the familiar interpersonal sharing of information, and are instead dealing with corporations and large databases. So what information has Joe shared, and what are the possible effects?Because he did a bunch of searches for Abba-related information, it’s quite likely that Joe will begin seeing advertisements for Abba-related items on Google sites. The advertising services on the sites Joe visited probably set a cookie in his browser, so that when he goes to other sites they serve, they may present him with Abba-related advertisements. Amazon and iTunes may begin promoting to him items similar to the Abba album he purchased. Spotify will recommend similar music, and if he has connected Facebook and Spotify, his listening to the Abba music may be shared with his Facebook friends. In addition, there are other indirect players that know about his interest, including his Internet Service Provider and credit-card company.The actions Joe took online have many diverse effects. Some may be viewed as positive, e.g., if Joe ends up seeing an ad for the Blu-Ray release of “Mamma Mia,” which features music by Abba. Other effects are neutral; e.g., the service or company having a record of Joe’s interest in a database somewhere has no measurable impact on Joe. But if his preference ends up being shared on a network like Facebook, Joe may view it as potentially harmful.Use of information vs. possessionThe above stories illustrate that having someone else simply possess information we think of as private is not the real problem. Instead, it is how that information is used. Does it change the possessor’s behavior or feelings? Does the possessor share that information with someone else? Are we even aware of how that information is used or shared? These are the real questions we should should take into account when we decide what we do with our private information.The love of “Dancing Queen” is a silly example of information one might consider private, but it’s easy to see how this story might apply to other concerns such as health issues, financial information, and other important data. The only truly private information we have is information that we keep only to ourselves. Once it is known by others, we have to trust that they will use our information only in ways we wish.The concerns about privacy are really concerns about what a person or company will do with our private information. Therefore, when we make a decision to share data we consider personal or private, we must consider how that information will be used. We trust (or don’t trust) other people based on our existing relationships with them and our expectations of what they will do with our information. Sometimes, but not often, we may have a written or spoken agreement about how our information will be used.With companies, particularly online, we are dealing with entities that are typically, not a single person, and that we may not have dealt with before. We therefore rely on other factors before deciding to share personal data with them: reputation, transparency, written agreements, cost versus benefit, etc.Consciously or not, each time we share information or browse sites, we weigh the risk that the information we’ve shared gets used beyond our desires compared to the perceived benefit we get from sharing the information or visiting the site.Future blog posts will examine these issues in more detail, particularly the factors we consider when sharing information in an online space.(If you’re not familiar with the song, you can view the music video of Dancing Queen on YouTube)Author: Stephen Judd (+Stephen Judd, @sjudd) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.last_img read more